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Labor Report

Online Workshops Available This Week to Help Employers, Claimants Learn PA’s New UC System

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is holding four virtual workshops this week to help individuals, employers and third-party administrators prepare for next month's transition from an outdated, 40-year-old legacy system to a new modern computer system. The transition to the new UC system is expected to begin May 30th.

This week's workshops are part of a series of 24 workshops and other tools and resources L&I is providing to users, including the legislative, advocate, and employer communities, to guide them through the transition to the new system. Once the transition is complete, the new system will enable quicker and easier filing of UC claims.

This Week's Workshop Dates and Links

A full list of scheduled workshops and the links to connect to them are available here.
Workshop topics include:

  • How to log in to the new system;
  • Payment information;
  • Status updates;
  • Appeals;
  • Fact-finding;
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and more.

Questions about the new UC system should be submitted here. L&I will address the most frequently asked questions in future workshops.
Scheduled workshops will be offered in English and Spanish on a variety of days and times, including evenings and weekends. Recordings of each workshop will be uploaded to this page on

Helpful Resources
In addition to the instructional workshops, the following user guides are available to help Pennsylvanians prepare for the new UC system.
Claimant User Guides:

Employer User Guides:

Claimant and Employer User Guides:

Video tutorials are also available.

During the transition, which is expected to begin on May 30th, the UC Service Center will remain open via phone and email. Representatives will still be able to take new inquiries from users and place them in a queue for when the new system comes online. They will also be able to assist individuals who are experiencing issues and will be able to answer questions about the offline period and the new UC system generally.

For more information on the new system and unemployment programs, please visit or follow L&I on Facebook or Twitter.

PA Labor & Industry Details Full Timeline, User Expectations for UC Transition

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is anticipating minimal or no disruption in benefits for most Unemployment Compensation (UC) recipients as the Department transitions to a new UC system.

The UC system will be offline for several days in June, but the planned timeline has been positioned to allow most individuals to file their biweekly claims as scheduled.

“Only a small portion of claimants are anticipated to be impacted by the offline period,” Acting L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier said. “Teams of IT and UC experts continue working to tighten the offline timeframe and conduct intensive end-to-end testing at critical stages in the process to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.”

The transition from the old system to the new system will take place from May 30th through June 7th with the new system expected to be live on June 8th.

  • From Thursday, June 3rd, to Monday, June 7th, individuals with ongoing claims will be unable to file biweekly certifications.
  • Individuals scheduled to file their biweekly certification during the week of May 30th to June 5th will be able to file their biweekly claims between Sunday, May 30th, and Wednesday, June 2nd. L&I will process all claims and issue payments through the Pennsylvania Treasury after the old system is taken offline but before the transition begins.
  • When the new system comes online, everyone will change to a weekly filing pattern.
  • During the week of June 6th to 12th, individuals will be able to file after the new system comes online on June 8th.
  • Individuals filing for unemployment for the first time will be unable to file a new claim from May 31st to June 7th. These individuals will still receive on-time payments if they file when the new system comes online on June 8th.
  • The ability to file a claim by phone will be offline from June 3rd to 9th. During this period, individuals may file using the new online system when it comes online, or they can file on Thursday, June 10th, or Friday, June 11th.

During the offline period, the UC Service Center will keep phonelines and email open. Staff will be available to accept new inquiries from claimants.

Following the recent addition of 230 newly hired customer service representatives, an additional 200 are completing onboarding and training and will begin answering calls on May 24th.

For more information and updates on unemployment benefits programs, visit or follow L&I on Facebook or Twitter.

PA Senate Democrats Propose ARP Investments in People, Projects, Public Health

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats unveiled the “New Deal for PA” – a $6.15 billion investment of federal funds coming to the Commonwealth pursuant to the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The New Deal for PA focuses on Jobs, Opportunity, and Equity with the following breakdown:

People — $2.470 billion:21st Century Child Care, Business Assistance, Education/Community Supports, Job Training/Workforce Development, and Utility Assistance.

Projects — $2.493 billion: Economic Development and Infrastructure.

Public Health — $1.185 billion: Public Health Equity/Vaccine Confidence and Rewarding Frontline Worker Service.

“These funds give us a unique opportunity to not only plug the holes created by the past year, but to also set us on a trajectory that will prevent such devastation from happening again – particularly as it relates to the disproportionate impact some communities faced,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “We have to move beyond calls to simply ‘reopen’ and focus instead on rebuilding and recovering. Our businesses, workers and families need programs and support systems to get to a new normal.”

Pennsylvania will receive approximately $7.3 billion in flexible funding through the ARP, and Senate Democrats believe it is time to begin the conversation on investing these funds so the monies can be allocated with the FY 2021-2022 budget.

Counties and municipalities will receive approximately $6.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan’s Local Fiscal Relief Fund and school districts will receive approximately $4.5 billion from the ESSER Fund. If these local government units take advantage of these programs, state matching funds will average approximately $4 for every $1 of local funding. 

More information on the plan can be found at

Wage, Employment Data Undermine Misperception of U.S. Worker Shortage

As businesses across the United States seek to rebuild in the aftermath of pandemic-related shutdowns and slowdowns, the idea that the nation is experiencing a worker shortage has garnered a lot of public attention.

In news media coverage of the economic recovery, employers lament that they can’t find enough workers to fill posted job openings, even when they offer higher pay and bonuses to new hires. Media outlets often amplify this perception in headlines.

Yet, the real economic evidence points to the opposite conclusion – that the so-called labor shortage is fiction and that employers have failed to respond to the changing needs of available workers. A senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute spelled out the relevant factors in a blog published by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University.

“The footprint of a bona fide labor shortage is rising wages,” wrote Heidi Shierholz, who is also EPI’s director of policy. “… And right now, wages are not growing at a rapid pace.”

Contrary to the notion of rapid wage growth, the growth of average wages slowed between December 2019 and December 2020 when accounting for a factor known as “composition effects.”

That is, low-wage workers have lost their jobs due to the pandemic at a much higher rate than workers in higher wage tiers. The loss of so many low-wage workers from the labor force caused the nation’s average wage to climb. Average hourly earnings skyrocketed by about 8% from April 2019 to April 2020.

It’s not that workers were suddenly benefitting from unprecedented raises. Rather, a lot of workers at the low end of the pay scale were suddenly removed from the equation. A blog post by two White House economists explained the phenomenon and how analysts adjust for it in the Employment Cost Index (ECI).

“The ECI shows the average change in wages within industries and occupations,” they wrote.

Another concept that undermines the false perception of a labor shortage is the relationship between the number of unemployed people versus the number of job listings.
“There are far more unemployed people than available jobs in the current labor market,” Shierholz wrote. “In the latest data on job openings, there were nearly 40% more unemployed workers than job openings overall, and more than 80% more unemployed workers than job openings in the leisure and hospitality sector.”

Nation’s Weekly Jobless Figures Continue Positive Trend

For the second consecutive week, the number of new insured unemployment claims in the United States declined to a pandemic-period low, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

From May 2nd through May 8th, an estimated 473,000 Americans filed new claims, compared to a revised figure of 507,000 for the prior week.

The number of new claims has declined in four of the last five weeks, ABC News reported, perhaps signaling that “fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen.”

The network and The New York Times further reported that Republican governors in more than a dozen states have declared their intentions to end enhanced, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs for workers. Under federal law, programs such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) are due to expire on Labor Day.

The affected states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

“Some employers, particularly in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, have complained of having trouble finding workers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many Republicans have argued that (enhanced benefits) have made workers reluctant to return to the job,” the Times reported. “… Economists are skeptical that supplemental jobless benefits are playing anything more than a bit part in the pace of the job market’s recovery.”

Other unemployment indicators also continued their positive trends, the U.S. DOL stated.

The seasonally adjusted number of insured unemployed persons was 3,655,000 for the week ending May 1st, a decrease of 45,000 from the prior week’s figure. The four-week moving average was 3,665,000, a decrease of 13,250 from the previous four-week average. The latest average is the lowest since March 28th, 2020.

The number of actual initial claims under state programs was 487,436 for the week ending May 8th, a decrease of 26,286 (5.1%) from the prior week. There were 2,326,632 new claims for the comparable week in 2020. In addition, states reported 103,571 initial claims for PUA during the week ending May 8th.